I have a confession to make. I’m sick of Lyme. Of treating it, researching it, and…talking about it. I resent how much time it’s taken out of my life. Yup, I’ll bet you feel the same. You wish you didn’t have to dedicate so many of life’s hours to treatments and research and all the rest. You resent it stealing spaces of your life that were once rightfully reserved for friendships, work and “normal” activities.
Indeed, I was astounded when I first became ill and realized how quickly and efficiently Lyme had snatched my life out from under me. How it managed to shove aside all my life’s activities and demand my full-time attention. How, from the setting of the sun one day, to its rising on the next, it had become my life partner; the companion and center of all my thoughts and doings. Kind of like what happens in an obsessive relationship, except that there has been no love in this one.
Periodically and as I have fought the disease, its pervasiveness has overwhelmed me, and even though I have managed to add a smidgeon of balance to my life through other activities, my new life partner, Lyme, has always clamored the loudest for my time and attention.
And always, I have given my pouting body the help it needs. Always, I have heeded the cry to look for the next solution to my symptoms, or to nurse my wounds and whine about my life because my aches and pains and too much knowledge have demanded that I do so.
But I’ve also learned that my body never shuts up. And, as long as I devote copious amounts of time and energy (not to mention money) to Lyme-related activities, the disease reigns as King over my thought world, and master over my body.
Of late, however, I’ve decided to dethrone the king, and this has meant leaving all things Lyme behind for awhile. If I didn’t think that my words helped others, I would probably take a blog nap, too, but I figure as long as the rest of my world remains filled with things besides thoughts of Lyme, I’ll be OK.
If you really, truly don’t want this disease to rule your life, there are steps you can take to relegate it to a lower rank, but you must be diligent. If you are really sick and have lots of symptoms, this is more difficult to do, and perhaps for a time you must be content to allow it generous space in your brain so that you can get the medical care you need. But if you have been at this game for awhile and are moderately functional; if you can take walks in the park and go grocery shopping or manage dinner with a friend, then you may be in a position to re-assign value to Lyme and the pursuit of healing.
Millions of forces will conspire against you. Your symptoms will remind you every minute about how broken you are; you’ll want to chat with others who have Lyme; your treatments and research for the next cure will keep you entrenched in thoughts of disease. Getting out from beneath your Lyme-brain will be no easy task.
So what do you do?
Lately, I’ve been avoiding situations that encourage me to think Lyme, Lyme and more Lyme!! If someone asks how I feel, I give a brief answer. If I’m lonely, and even though I’m tempted, I stay away from the Lyme support groups. Sorry guys, I love you, but I need a break from this life. (Don’t worry, you can still email me with comments and questions and I won’t turn you away!). I have put my treatments on hold in favor of giving my body up to God to do with as He wishes, because I think He can intervene more powerfully when I don’t live with one foot in the mush of man’s medicine and another in the world of hope for supernatural healing. Indeed, I have witnessed more instances of supernatural healing in Costa Rica than I ever saw in the United States. (I wouldn’t advise leaving your current treatment regimen in favor of my faith-based approach, unless you feel led to walk that path), but personally, it is helping me to center my thoughts around other things.
Before you think I’m foolish, don’t be fooled; the “other” things of life, are, in themselves, treatment for Lyme disease, because they enable me to aspire to a life outside of Lyme. By filling my brain with what I love and what I hope to become; by assuming health by doing what my body thinks I can’t do; by engaging in the lives of others and taking an interest in their pursuits, or cultivating interest in a new hobby, I am removed from the world of disease. When my body pokes at me–or shouts–“Excuse me! I’m tired!” I heed the call for rest, but smash the laments that follow, replacing them with thoughts about what I can productively do in my rest.
It takes practice, determination and perseverance, but you don’t have to think about Lyme disease all the time, or even half of the time. Indeed, by making it your servant instead of your master in the palace of your thoughts, you may attain greater healing.